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Waymo Introducing Self-Driving Ride-Hailing Service

Austin Texas is poised to become the next major hub for Waymo’s ride-hail services, joining the ranks of Metro Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles as the company continues its expansion into the commercial ride-hailing market.

In recent months, Waymo’s dedicated team has been diligently conducting a series of tests in and around downtown Austin, utilizing their fleet of all-electric Jaguar I-Pace vehicles. These tests have allowed the Waymo Driver, the company’s autonomous driving system, to become intimately familiar with the layout and intricacies of the city. Encouraged by the success of the initial testing phase, Waymo is gearing up to kick off its first operational phase in Austin during the upcoming autumn of 2023. After this, the complete rollout of fully autonomous vehicles is planned.

The focal point of Waymo’s ambitions in Austin is to establish a comprehensive service that blankets substantial areas of the city, functioning day and night. The Waymo Driver is poised to provide its autonomous services across various neighborhoods including downtown, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin, and Hyde Park.

Saswat Panigrahi, Chief Product Officer at Waymo, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “Austin is a city renowned for its vitality and ever-changing landscape, and we’ve been astounded by how rapidly the Waymo Driver has adapted to its intricate surroundings. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to elevate transportation, making it safer, more environmentally friendly, and universally accessible. We’re eagerly anticipating the moment when the people of Austin can personally experience these transformative benefits.”

This momentous decision to bring Waymo One’s services to Austin is a significant milestone for the company. It follows the historic journey of Steve Mahan, a visually impaired individual, who embarked on the world’s first ride in a fully autonomous vehicle on public roads back in 2015, courtesy of Waymo’s innovative Firefly prototype. This achievement underscored Waymo’s pioneering role in shaping the future of autonomous transportation.

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